There are two kinds of survival thrillers I place in separate categories. There’s the “They’re completely fucked” films like “Open Water” and “Alive” where their situation is hopeless. Then there’s the “Calm Down and You Might Survive” category with titles like “Frozen” and “47 Meters Down” where if people just relaxed and displayed some kind of common sense, they could make it. “ATM” is in the latter category where if these three moronic characters would just stop and think for a moment, they could have actually made it through the poor man’s Jigsaw without many battle wounds.
After a wild Christmas party, officer worker David agrees to drive home co-worker Emily. With intrusive friend and co-worker Corey tagging along, they stop at an ATM to grab some quick cash. Much to their horror, they realize they’re being stalked by a figure in a large winter coat waiting in the darkness. What seems like a troublemaker at first descends in to violence when he murders a dog walker passing by the scene. Now it becomes a fight for survival among the trio of yuppy morons, all of whom can’t stop and think of one single good idea. “ATM” has a nugget of a clever premise, but it’s all bogged down by a slim narrative, bland characters, and plot holes galore.
I mean, why not open the door and scream for help endlessly? Or, perhaps bum rush the psycho? Or perhaps scatter in various directions and meet up somewhere? The solution they come up with in the final ten minutes will have you screaming “Should have done that in the first place!” to the screen at least three times. ”ATM” is miserable and absolutely void of creativity to the point where it can’t even come up with a colorful villain. Said villain just stands around in a large winter coat, and then devises such a hackneyed and sloppy way of preying on his victims. In the end there’s no other reasoning save for the fact that—you know—this is a horror thriller and we need a bad guy.
I guess. I mean the villain’s whole plot is predicated on the idea that one or two people will enter his choice ATM vestibule allowing him to terrorize them. But what if one or two people enter, and suddenly a huge bus comes around filled with people who want to use the ATM? It’s just such a weak bit of motivation for a horror villain. Thank goodness we’ve yet to see the sequel “ATM: Overdraft.”